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As the new CMO at Pendo, Joe Chernov says that he “inherited something really special.” He joined us during his first week on the job to discuss everything he’s excited about both in the new role and at the company. He discussed the challenges facing marketers today and how to best set up the people you work with to be as successful as possible.

3 Takeaways:

– Building a bigger surface area of contact can help create a better relationship with the persona you’re targeting

– Marketers today are paying for the sins of marketers past

– CMOs have to distill for CEOs the distinction between the medium and the message and, regardless of medium, deliver a message or product to customers that will change their lives

Key Quotes:

“The space we should be in is empowering the product manager to get a seat at the executive table. Providing a growth path from product manager to product VP to chief product officer; carve out a seat at the executive table for more and more chief product officers and be that system of record for that role.”

“We need to create more surface area for our key persona to connect with the brand…. Why do I emphasize product managers? Because we can never lose sight of our persona. We need to be the patron saint of that role. And product managers are among the busiest of professional functions. They’ve got a foot in the business, they’ve got a foot in technology, they’re pulled in the direction of go-to-market. We have a very distracted role and a persona that’s under intense pressure. What I want to be able to do is to say, if you want to try our product and never talk to a person, we’ve got an option for you. If you want to see the product but you don’t want to talk to sales, we’ve got an option for you. If you want Pendo expertise, we’ve got an advisory option for you. If you do want to sit down with sales, then there’s a CTA for that, as well. And underlying all of this is constantly producing really useful, helpful content. If we can create that portfolio, that amount of surface area for our persona to raise their hand and connect with us, I think we can have a variety of different shaped funnels, all of which lead to good outcomes for the business and, hopefully, for the PM role broadly.”

“I believe there are no bad people. It’s just bad KPIs.”

“How big can we get the community? How actively engaged can the community be and how happy are the community members? The minute you start to push your agenda onto them, you’re going to see growth slow. You’re going to see happiness tail off and you’re going to see participation drop.” 

“Our chief product officer says a PM’s job isn’t to fall in love with the solution it is to fall in love with the problem. And I think that’s transferable to the everyday conversation that happens between business leadership and marketing leadership. It’s about avoiding replicating solutions others have found and instead identifying the underlying problem and unpacking why that solution was right for that problem.”


Joe Chernov is the CMO of Pendo. He previously served as the VP of Marketing at HubSpot and also ran marketing at mobile tech startup Kinvey, as well as holding a similar role in content marketing at Eloqua. The Content Marketing Institute awarded him “Content Marketer of the Year” and AdWeek named him one of the 100 most creative people in advertising.

His writing can be found in Mashable and the Content Marketing Institute.

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